At the beginning of our teenage years, we know very little. We are innocent and naïve and are willing to believe in everything. We join high school thinking it’ll be like the Netflix shows and that every day will be a blast – trust me, it’s not. We end high school knowing even less. If you ever enjoyed those years, and you didn’t suffer any hardships throughout those times, I envy you.
Here is a list of things I wish I knew before starting high school, and things I wish I could go back and tell myself before entering teen-hood:
- Your friendship group will change. It is very rare that we come out the other side with the exact same friends – be prepared to lose a few along the way. And also, be prepared that some friends may end up being ‘false’ or ‘toxic’ – most of us learn this the hard way
- You don’t need to try so hard all the time. You don’t need to put in 110% effort into every little vocab test or end of term exam; you’ll burn out pretty early on if you do. Go steady and put in as much effort is needed – not heaps and heaps of it.
- High school will be challenging – “a smooth ship never made a skilful sailor”
- Everyone goes through their own dark times. Nobody’s perfect at 16 – everyone is still growing up and making mistakes, so be prepared that you’re not the only one going through this
- Focus on yourself – you can’t do anything else, or help anybody else, until you learn to put yourself first. Even when it feels like the most selfish thing to do, put yourself first
- Work hard pays off – you get out only what you put in, remember that
- No one cares! Stop worrying about what you look like or what clothes you wear – everyone is too caught up in their own dramas to notice
- Your teenage years are just a blimp of your entire life – life hasn’t started yet. But for that reason, cherish those years where you don’t have to worry about much other than boy and friendship drama… life gets even tougher after that
- You’ll never see most of these people again, stop caring about what they say about you – being judgemental says more about them than what they say about you
- Your mom can see a fake friend before you can – listen to her!
- Don’t feel like you have to document everything on social media – again, no one cares. And also, don’t compare yourself to the others you see online – social media has a good way of warping reality.
- It’s okay to not know who you want to be or what you want to do with your life. And don’t follow the crowd; do what makes you happy and what you want to do.
- Forget what people think about you
- You are your own critic – be kind to yourself and your body. The mirror lies! (it is distorted by social media and societal expectations)
- Things have a way of working themselves out, even when it feels like nothing will ever go right.